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Democracy being sidelined in th US…….

Recent events have exposed the inadequacy of the US democratic checks and balances created over200 years ago.  What’s required is a second American revolution  – and a fresh constitutional convention that demolishes anachronisms like the electoral college, makes democracy work for all, and refocuses on constructive global engagement.  (Guardian Weekly 29 May 2020)

……… And in Britain a concentration of power……..

John Harris,  in The Guardian“

If there’s one thing this crisis has underlined, it’s the calamitous way in which power in Britain is concentrated at the top. Time and again, Downing Street has grandly issued edicts that just don’t match the reality on the ground.

Take the PM’s sudden switch from a “stay at home” to a “stay alert” policy. It had huge implications for transport and health systems; yet the leaders of Scotland and Wales were given no part in the decision (and so have stuck to their lockdowns), and mayors and council leaders in England were taken by surprise. “The first I knew of it,” Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes told me, “was when I saw it on TV.”

It’s the same with testing. It is councils that have the forensic knowledge required for post-test contact tracing; yet they’ve been bypassed. Instead, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has relied on a centralised system of call centres run by big private firms whose newly recruited staff have received cursory training. And on top of this policy neglect, councils are still being hit by cuts in central funding. This pandemic has shown that dispersal of power must now be a priority. “The old centralised game is over” (or should be).

My comment:  I see here a conundrum.  As a supporter of Epicurus I am expected to eschew politics and politicians.  But what happens when right wing governments, as in the US and the U.K, ignore the democratic process and dissenting voices, lying about everything in sight and leaving the average citizen powerless?  Is this a way of fostering peace of mind? (or simply peace?). And does ataraxia prevail when you have parties in power parcelling out key jobs to their chums for their own enrichment and for election funds?  Grubby corruption is not confined to Asian and African countries.

One Comment

  1. I believe a “supporter of Epicurus” as you and I could, however, say something about politics from time to time. Indeed, most of the time, if you try to follow Epicurus thoughts, you should eschew politics (for example : Principal Doctrine XIV). But not all the time. Talking about Justice, Epicurus sets clearly that you may act when the time is right, precisely when “actions which were formerly considered to be just under former circumstances are seen not to accord with the general concept of mutual advantage” (Principal Doctrine XXXVIII). Where is the “mutual advantage” to let governments act like common thieves ? Nowhere. Let’s follow Epicurus thoughts and do someting about it ! No contradiction here : Do you agree ?

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